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Common disapproval of video games goes back a long way, to the times of the simple arcade machines of the 70s. Video games have evolved a great deal since then, however. Modern titles offer more than realistic graphics and fast action; they demand fast and precise responses from players, great concentration and motivation. If you’re curious about whether your video game habit hurts you or helps you, what follows are 7 benefits that researchers have discovered studying the way games affect people.

Surgeons play video games

Laparoscopy is a surgical method in which surgeons operate while guided by imagery produced by cameras introduced into the body. Research has found that surgeons playing video games for three hours a week are able to cut their operating errors down by a third when compared to surgeons who don’t play video games (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17309970). Video games promote superior motor control and eye-hand coordination.

Video games help with dyslexia

Some research suggests that difficulties with focusing tend to be behind many kinds of dyslexia. Other studies have indicated that playing fast-paced video games that require deep concentration helps dyslexic children gain greater focus when they read. A moderate level of video game playing, then, helps children overcome the effects of dyslexia (medicalxpress.com/news/2017-12-action-video-games-dyslexia.html).

Video games can help improve eyesight

Scientists have discovered a connection between video game playing and improvements to players’ vision. In one article of research, for instance, about three months of moderate video game activity was found to improve the ability of players to distinguish between shades of gray. Study participants who suffered from lazy eye were also found to improve vision in the affected eye.

Video games can help young people develop leadership qualities

Some kinds of games encourage players to build communities and ensure the safety of the participants in their charge. Researchers have found that the leadership experience that video game players gain in the gaming environment often translates to real-world leadership enthusiasm and abilities.

Video games can encourage interest in history

Many video games are based on historical characters and events. When players realize that their favorite video games are based on actual history, they are often enthusiastic about reading up about it. Such video games can encourage a deeper appreciation of history.

Video games can make people more social

While video game enthusiasts are often stereotyped as asocial loners, the truth is that three out of four gamers gather together with friends to play, at least some of the time. Even when gamers play each other online, socializing is an important part of the experience — gamers often collaborate to solve problems together. Video games are simply a new, useful way to relate to other people.

Video games help suppress cravings

A small university study has revealed that gamers report significant reductions in cravings for nicotine, alcohol or food when they are immersed in a gaming experience. Gaming successfully supplies the mind with the stimulation that it needs, and reduces reliance on unhealthy foods or stimulants. If you’re an involved gamer, you may find it easier to stick to a healthy diet.

Gaming certainly can be addicting in some cases. For the vast majority of gamers, however, the activity can come with positive health effects, both for the mind and the body.

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